Grading: Introductory/Moderate. Maximum altitude 2500 metres. Twelve days Kathmandu-Kathmandu.
The Essence of Annapurnas trek allows you to get off the beaten track in the beautiful Annapurna region, west of Kathmandu. For the first couple of days you will be making camp amongst traditional villages where there are few tourist lodges. Later you will be joining the trail leading to and from the famous mountaineering and trekking routes of the Annapurna Sanctuary and Circuit. This is a perfect introduction to trekking in Nepal with a good mix of local culture and beautiful mountain scenery. As with all treks in the Annapurna region, there are a fair amount of stone steps to ascend and descend, but the maximum altitude of the trek at 2500 metres on top of Panchase Peak means that the trail can be enjoyed by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
On day one arrive at Kathmandu airport and transfer to your hotel for the night.
Day two gives you free time in Kathmandu to take an optional sightseeing trip or mountain flight. You may want to explore some of the many shops, stalls and restaurants in the heart of the city before returning to your hotel for the night.
On the third day take a scenic drive out of the Kathmandu valley along the Trisuli River to the lakeside town of Pokhara. Stop along the way for lunch and arrive in the afternoon at a hotel near beautiful Lake Phewa.
After breakfast on the fourth day begin walking to the village of Bumdi. Walk via the Japanese Peace Pagoda with it’s magnificent views over Pokhara to the mountains beyond. From Bumdi you can see the magnificent panorama of the Annapurna range from Mount Dhaulagiri to Manaslu with holy Machhapuchare in the center.
On day five begin walking to Panchase Bhanjyang (2110 metres) and your campsite at the foot of Panchase Peak. The local people here are mostly farmers growing wheat, millet and corn, which are carried down to Pokhara to be sold. Today is a day of wilderness walking where you don’t come across any habitation until you arrive at camp.
The sixth day starts with an early ascent of Panchase Peak (2500 metres) to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas. From here, you can see clear views of the Annapurna range from Dhaulagiri in the far West to Manaslu in the East. The temple on top of the peak is famous in the region, and the surrounding foothills are the setting for Hindu legends. you can spend the morning on the peak and return to the campsite for lunch before proceeding downhill to your next stop at Badaure (1500 metres). The village is overlooked by the mighty peaks of Annapurna South, Hinchuli and Machapuchhare.
The seventh day begins with a gradual uphill walk through villages before you make your way down to your lunch stop by the river at Nayapul (1030 metres). This is the entry and exit point for the Annapurna Sanctuary and Circuit treks and is bustling with porters and mules carrying supplies to higher villages. Follow the Modi Khola to Birethanti, where you enter the Annapurna Conservation area and come across the first checkpost. Walking along the left bank of the river, you reach your campsite at Syauli Bazaar where you can relax beside the water and watch the world go by.
As you awake on the eighth day, you will see the fishtail peak of Machapuchhare towering over you, and realise how close you are getting to the mountains. you soon leave the river behind and start your climb to the old Gurung town of Ghandruk (1990 metres), stopping on the way at Kimche for lunch. Climbing higher and higher, you can see the river snaking along the valley below on it’s way from the high Annapurna peaks. Ghandruk is famous as the home of many members of the Gurkha Regiment and is the capital town of the region. From your campsite we have excellent views, as this is the point at which you are closest to the mountains.
After breakfast on the ninth day, descend to the river before climbing up to your lunch stop at Landruk (1646 metres). During the afternoon you take a gentle walk to your night stop at Tolka (1700 metres) from where you have good views of Annapurna South and Hinchuli.
The tenth day finds you climbing up to Bhichok Deurali, seeing Mount Dhaulagiri along the way before walking down to lunch at Potana (2010 metres). Your last afternoon of trekking brings you to the exit point at Khare for your road transfer to your hotel by the lake at Pokhara.
On day eleven return to Kathmandu by road and transfer to your hotel for the night.
On day twelve departure from Kathmandu airport.